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Rochelle Onifade
Also known as: Raquelle (mistakenly), Roxy (mistakenly), Ruby (mistakenly), Roselle (mistakenly)
Gender: Female
Friends/Family: Winifred (aunt)
Home: St Elmo Hostel, Hammersmith
Rochelle Onifade is a character in The Cuckoo's Calling. She was homeless, and was friends with Lula Landry, although Strike said that Landry probably just used Rochelle to talk to people without being spied on by the media. Rochelle ends up being crucial to Strike's investigation as she was directly related to the conclusion of the case.

History Edit

Little is known about Rochelle before she met Lula Landry in their rehabilitation institution, apart from the fact that she had a stormy relationship with her family. She was also homeless and living in the St Elmo Hostel in Hammersmith.

Lula became friends with her, taking her to the shops (which Rochelle took advantage of since she was very poor) and buying her an entry-level Nokia mobile phone so that, according to Lula, she could talk to Rochelle whenever she wanted. Later, Strike found out she bought her a phone so that Lula could speak to people without being spied on by the media once her old phone had been tapped for that purpose. She took Rochelle to the Vashti shop the day she died.

Strike found her after talking to the staff of the St Elmo Hostel and set up an interview with her at McDonald's. Although she was reluctant to give information, she was completely honest in her answers. Strike chased her after she left the restaurant and spotted her talking to somebody on her phone, and asked for her number. Strike called her many times after her interview, but she never answered.

Her dead corpse was found in the Thames, wearing the same clothes she wore on the day of Strike's interview with her. Eric Wardle and Roy Carver conducted the investigation on her death, reaching the conclusion that she committed suicide. Strike believed she had been murdered, but neither Wardle nor Carver believed him.

John Bristow tried everything to stop Strike from finding her. He pretended he didn't know her name, or where she lived, and deleted photos of her in Lula's laptop so that he wouldn't know what she looked like

Strike found out that Rochelle knew that Lula had left all of her money to her half-brother Jonah Agyeman, not to John Bristow, once she heard Lula talk to him on her phone and witnessed Lula's will which specified that. She used this information to blackmail John after Lula died, asking for money for a flat and for expensive clothes, and in return she'd keep that to herself. Rochelle didn't realise John had killed Lula, she thought he was just lying to use her money. At this point, she thought Jonah had pushed her out of the window. She didn't report Jonah to the police because she was angry at Lula for not featuring her in her will and being dumped at Vashti in her last day of Lula's life.

Strike found out it was John who killed her in order to silence her.

Appearance Edit

She is described as follows: "Her greasy skin, which was the colour of burned earth, was covered in acne pustules and pits; her small eyes were deep-set and her teeth were crooked and rather yellow. The chemically straightened hair showed four inches of black roots, then six inches of harsh, coppery wire-red. Her tight, too-short jeans, her shiny grey handbag and her bright white trainers looked cheap"